Utrecht moved to within a point of third after a 2-1 win over Excelsior on Friday evening.

haller utrexcLast week Utrecht threw away a 2-0 lead against ADO Den Haag, and their shaky defence from that day was in evidence again on Friday as Excelsior took the lead after only four minutes. A free kick wasn’t cleared and the ball fell to the feet of Rick Kruys, who’s shot flew off Ramon Leeuwin and landed in the net.

After the goal Excelsior remained in control, but just after the half hour mark Jurgen Mattheij handled in the box and gifted Utrecht an equaliser from the penalty spot. Sebastien Haller slotted in from 12-yards to level the scores.

The Frenchman then netted his 16th goal of the season before the break to give Utrecht the lead. Mark van der Maarel’s cross looped up off Sander Fischer and Haller rose to beat Tom Muyters to the ball and head into the net.

Excelsior were deflated by the two goals and they failed to find a way back into the game in the second half, while Haller went looking for his hat-trick, but missed several chances as the game ended 2-1.

Utrecht remain fifth, but move to within a point of AZ and Feyenoord. Excelsior sit 16th.

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